Pakistan floods and the minorities.
Posted on August 20th, 2010

By A. Abdul Aziz. Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Emergencies are a time when the best of man ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” and the very worst ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” comes out into the open. According to the media reports, in southern Punjab, Pakistan, where leaders of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community say relief goods or a place in camps was denied to flood victims from their faith, the worst has been on display. The treatment of Ahmadi Muslims as sub-human is a consequence of years of discrimination stemming from that fateful decision in the 1970s to declare them ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”non-MuslimƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. The result of the stateƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s decision to determine what belief people practice, regardless of their own assertions, has been catastrophic. The massacre of Ahmadi Muslims we saw in May this year in Lahore is one outcome of this. The increasingly vicious campaigns they have faced have obviously had an influence on poisoning minds and influencing the kind of disgraceful behaviour we have seen following the floods.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ But sadly, this is not the only example of such conduct. Humanitarian workers out in the field report many examples of bias. In some cases aid has been denied to those from specific castes or clans; in other instances the weakest and most vulnerable have been pushed aside. Christians in the Punjab, Pakistan are reported to have complained about discrimination and it is possible other minority communities have faced similar experiences. While most international and all UN organizations are bound by their own charter to ensure equitable distribution of aid, and usually attempt to follow them, local organisations may not have rules that are as stringent. Some reports already speak of groups affiliated to religious parties being behind some of the worst acts of deprivation on the basis of belief.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ So, what does this say about a people, as a society? These inhuman acts never deserve the distinction of calling them civilized human beings? The local authorities in Pakistan must be made to answer for their acts.

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